Saturday, 17 April 2010

Cinnamon adds spice to the day

A late afternoon check of Quennel Lake proved rewarding. The rain had stopped, and the sun was even having a go at shining.

Amongst the many hirundines, mostly tree and violet-green swallows, were reasonable numbers of barn swallow, at least 1 cliff and 1 northern rough-winged swallow.
A brown-headed cowbird was sniffing around the Brewer's blackbirds - a year-tick.
3 dunlin and 5 smaller waders were feeding on a distant muddy spit but at that range, I was hard pushed to confirm their identity.
They actually looked most like semi-palmated sandpiper, very grey overall in appearance with no discernible 'warmth' to the plumage, looked short billed and dark legged but, as I say the distance was too great. I do realise, also, that this species is highly unlikely here in spring, as opposed to the much commoner western and least. Sometimes, having a 'scope is even more frustrating than not having one!

Then came the real beauty - a drake cinnamon teal, which, while also being miles away, at least had the decency to be bright ginger, and stand out like a sore thumb. Despite this, it spent considerable time lurking and dabbling in the emergent vegetation at the lakeside and would disappear frequently. It seemed to be keeping close to one particular female, which appeared clearly paler than the nearby female green-wingeds. At one point a bald eagle flew over the lake and all the wildfowl took to the air, the male cinnamon and the female, took off with a group of wigeon and pintail while the other teal went in the opposite direction. The pair were spectacular in flight and easy to pick out, and at least I could confirm that the female wasn't a GW, though blue-winged couldn't be ruled out.
I've made the drake obvious in the pic, just in case anyone thought that it was an old rusty paint can floating in the lake....          

1 comment:

  1. I recognise that bird! It must be the same one I found on the Isle of Lewis, with the telephone aid of expert on the Anas, Mr Z. Dawson.